10 tips for getting the most out of your refrigerator

Jenna Careri / August 30th, 2016

Get the most out of your refrigerator with these tips.

[Africa Studio]/Shutterstock


If the kitchen is the heart of many homes, then it can be argued the refrigerator is the heart of many kitchens. After all, the always-running refrigerator is what keeps the bulk of our food purchases preserved from one grocery visit to the next. It’s where we turn to satisfy our midnight cravings and where we post the latest family pictures and important reminders.

Naturally, we want to make sure we’re getting the most out of our refrigerators. Take a look at these tips to help keep our favorite appliance running smoothly.

1. Clean the coils

Dust builds up on the condenser coils, which can prevent them from keeping cool and working efficiently. Twice a year, take a long-handled brush and/or the crevice tool on your vacuum to clean the dust off the coils.

2. Check the seal

If your refrigerator door isn’t sealed tightly, you’re wasting energy. Check all along the door seal for any gaps or cracks. You can also try this trick: Stick a dollar bill in the door and close it. If you can easily pull the dollar out, you need to replace the sealing gasket.

3. Set the right temperature

Keep your fridge at 40 degrees and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Keep the fridge full

A full refrigerator will retain its temperature easier because of the mass of cold items. But you don’t want to overfill it either – the cold air needs room to circulate.

5. Place leftovers front and center

Keep leftovers that need to be eaten soon at the front of the refrigerator so family members will easily see them. Containers that get pushed to the back are usually forgotten until a foul odor reminds you.

6. Keep a list of snacks on the fridge

To prevent people from standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open – for several minutes! – keep an updated list of available snacks attached to the door.

7. Cover and contain foods

Make sure plates and bowls are covered, with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or put foods in covered, reusable containers. This allows foods to last longer and keeps their odor from affecting other foods.

8. Properly store produce

When you come home from the farmers market, figure out the best place to keep your produce. For example, some fruits and vegetables last longer in the fridge and some do better on the counter.

9. Don’t store milk in the door

Different areas of the refrigerator are cooler than others. The door is warmer because it’s opened so often. Foods that spoil quickly, such as milk, should be kept in the back, where it’s coolest.

10. Freeze foods close to spoiling

If you can’t eat something before it goes bad, freeze it. Many surprising foods can be frozen. Some you might not have considered: milk, fruit, cheese, potatoes and eggs (not whole, but whisked or separated).


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